Making your own decals...



Lets split some hairs.
Dye Sublimation process vaporises the dye (not ink) which then sublimates (gets absorbed) into the print media. But the Micro Dry thermal transfer printing process heats up ink (not dye). That liquifies the ink and deposits it on top of the print media. The ink actually sits on top of the print media. That ink can even be scratches off with a fingernail.
Certain Alps models are capable of both DyeSub and Micro Dry printing (using different ink cartridges and different print media) but there is a big difference between each printing method. Only think in common that both methods use heat for printing.
Only Micro Dry thermal transfer printing is usable for decals. That method allows to place multiple layers of inks on to of each other. That is what enables Alps to print white undercoat layer under standard color inks. DyeSyb printing does not allow for that and can only be printed on the special DyeSub media (not on decal paper).
Peteski
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On 7/21/2010 1:09 AM Peter W. spake thus:
>

You may consider it splitting hairs, but you're simply wrong here. No big deal, but you're wrong.
Hey, it's not me who calls solid-ink printing "dye sublimation": it's Xerox, who now owns the former Tektronix Phaser series of dye-sub printers:
http://www.office.xerox.com/printers/color-printers/phaser-480-x/supl-enus.html
There's even a link on this page to their solid-ink FAQ:
http://www.office.xerox.com/solid-ink/solid-ink-faq/enus.html
Now it's true that there are different forms of dye sublimation, some of which involve "ink" on a ribbon rather than in solid bars like in the Phaser series, but they all work the same way, by vaporizing the "ink" and depositing it on the printing substrate, which, contrary to what you say, need not be a special dye-receptive media: it can be any paper or film, including decal film. (When I printed using my Phaser I used ordinary copy paper.) When it hits the paper or film, it simply condenses back into a solid and binds to the surface of the substrate. The prints from a Phaser are very resistant to scratching; I know, I've tried it.
The term "dye sublimation" may not be a good one, as it implies that the agent used to print with is like a liquid dye (like, say, RIT) and not a solid as is actually used, but it's the term we're stuck with for better or worse.
(By the way, I just gave away my Phaser 850, so sorry if anyone here wanted it. It needed some work, but the guy who picked it up said they were worth somewhere arond $3K when they were made.)
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On 7/21/2010 1:09 AM Peter W. spake thus:

I didn't catch this before, but here's the source of your confusion: sublimation is not what you say it is. It's the change from solid to gas (or vice versa) without becoming liquid in between. It has nothing to do with absorption.
Like they say, you could look it up.
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Whatever. You have no clue as to what you're talking about (as far as Alps is concerned). I would give you a useful Wikipedia link but we all know your aversion to that site. :-)
I owned several Alps MD printers of many years and I have printed many pages (in both standard Micro Dry and Dye Sub modes) so yes, I *DO* know what I'm talking about.
The key in Sublimation is the vaporized dye (again dye, not ink). That dye is absorbed by the print media. But I'm repeating myself.
I have also worked with the Xerox Phaser printers and their "DyeSub" ink is a high-gloss waxy layer on top of plain paper. It can be scratched off with a fingernail. Dye Sublimation produces a more permanent printout and you cannot use plain paper. You can't always believe in what sales literature tells you.
For example Alps MD-5000 sales literature states that it is a 2400dpi printer but in reality the actual maximum dot pitch is 600dpi. Yes the printer can print partial dots of the size of a 2400dpi printer but still at only 600 dpi pitch. It is all sales pitches.
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Peter W. wrote:

First off, I don't know exactly how *ALPS* uses the word "sublimation", or the detail of how their printers work. I've never used one, nor read their technical info.
However, Dave N. is correct that "sublimation" has nothing to do with absorption. As he states, sublimation is the change from solid to gas without passing through a liquid state in between. Many substances exhibit such behavior under appropriate pressure and temerature ranges.
I don't doubt that the dyes (or inks, whatever) used by ALPS are sublimated into a gaseous state, and then migrate to the paper. Once AT the paper, they may be absorbed as you state, but THAT portion of the process has nothing to do with sublimation.
It seems the printing industry has hijacked the word and applies it to a printing process that uses sublimation as one PART of that process. It would thus be more correct to use the term "Sublimation-Printing" and not just "Sublimation" where the ALPS printers are involved.
Picking nits. :-)
Dan Mitchell ===========
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Right. CO2 is a classic example of this process. 'Dry Ice' (frozen CO2) sublimates at ambient temperatures. The classic use of this is in the bubbling cauldron effect common in lots of horror movies -- drop a block of Dry Ice in a pot of water -- the water looks like it is boiling, but the 'steam' flows *down* (CO2 is heavier than air, unlike hot steam).
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On 7/22/2010 7:34 AM Robert Heller spake thus:

There's an even more common example of sublimation right in your fridge: it's why your ice cubes slowly shrink and disappear without ever becoming wet. The solid ice slowly turns directly into water vapor without going through the liquid phase.
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On 7/22/2010 2:26 AM Peter W. spake thus:
>

Well, of course not.
I meant no disrespect of your experience with various printing technologies. It is unfortunate that manufacturers use terminology so loosely and confusingly.
One thing is for sure, that all these printers we're discussing here use sublimation to get the ink (I'll use that term to describe "the stuff that makes the image on the printing substrate") onto the paper or film. Whether it's an Alps or a Phaser, the solid stuff is vaporized and deposited on the substrate.
The "dye" part of dye sublimation is problematic, as you point out. As I said, it tends to make us think of a liquid colorant, like Rit fabric dye, rather than a printing ribbon with solid ink or chunks of wax-based pigment, like the Phaser uses. But they basically all work the same way; they all use solid ink in various forms. So they probably shouldn't use the term "dye sublimation". But as I said, we're kinda stuck with that term.
So after all this nonsense, has anyone here figured out whether the Alps printers can still be used to print model RR decals? From all that I've read, that still seems to be the best of all possible worlds.
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Yes, the terminology is confusing and you also mixed 2 printer types (in your previous post). Lets clarify things.
1st link http://www.office.xerox.com/printers/color-printers/phaser-480-x/supl-enus.html This is a real Dye Sublimation process printer. It uses wide carrier ribbon coated with solid dye (as shown on that page). That printer need special media which can absorb the vaporised dye. Print head heats up the solid dye to the pint it evaporates from the carrier and the vapor is absorbed into the print media. It is a solid dye not solid ink printing.
This printing method is very similar to Alps Photgraphic Quality (aka DyeSub) printing. Uses special dyes and special print media.
2nd link http://www.office.xerox.com/solid-ink/solid-ink-faq/enus.html This is a printer which uses solid blocks of crayon-like wax/resin "ink" (not solid dye). That "ink" is melted (liquified) inside the printer then it is squirted out of the print head onto print media. It cools instantly on top of the print media. Print media can be plain paper since the "ink" doesn't have to be absorbed into it. Since the ink is in liquid state this is not a Dye Sublimation printer. Solid- ink is just another marketing term.
If you examine that web page you'll notice that the word "sublimation" is not mentioned. It is becasue this printer does not use Dye Sublimation printing.
This print method is not the same as standard Micro Dry Alps process but is is similar. Micro Dry process uses solid wax/resin ink on a carrier film. The print head liquifies that ink depositing it on the print media. That ink cools and hardens on the surface of the print media. The print media can be plain paper since the ink is on otp of it (not absorbed into it).
I hope that this clarifies the confusion.
Decal paper does not readily absorb vaporised dyes so only Micro Dry process can be used to print decals.

Yes! :-)
I'm not sure why are you using the word "still". Alps printers haven't changed (as far as the printing technology goes) since they were first introduced in the 90s.
Peteski
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